Integration or liberation: What's in a name?

While the BJP is calling September 17 as Hyderabad Liberation Day, the TRS has christened it as Telangana Integration Day

The last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan being sworn in the Raj Pramuksh upon integration of Hyderabad into Indian Union
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The last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan being sworn in the Raj Pramuksh upon integration of Hyderabad into Indian Union

They may sound oxymoronic, yet the purpose and the occasion are the same. But, what draws a contrast between both of them is not just the nomenclature with which the occasion was christened, but even in terms of their respective political ideologies too the subjects — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) — are poles apart.

While the BJP is calling September 17 as Hyderabad Liberation Day, the TRS has christened it as Telangana Integration Day.

Erstwhile Hyderabad State

The coinage of the phrase, integration, may have, albeit, emerged from the thoughts of All-India Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen party president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. At least, it appears so on the face of it.

So, what? The TRS readily "acceded to the appeal of Owaisi" — surely schemed and wangled by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) — and 'decided' to celebrate the day marking the Telangana integration into the Indian Union. In a way, KCR let Owaisi feel the legitimacy in having it named as "Integration Day", for he is native of Hyderabad and he represents the City in Lok Sabha .For, KCR foresaw trouble erupting from this particular quarter and the 'wangling' a request from Owasi was just to preempt the same.

Telangana Peasants Armed Struggle

The story behind the integration of Hyderabad into Independent India, the refusal of Nizam to merge his princely state into Indian Union, Sardar Patel's police action (Operation Polo) and the consequent surrender were all beaten tracks and history.

Let's take a look at how the BJP is trying to portray the event and, in complete contrast, how the TRS is espousing the cause of the event.

The BJP has always targeted the AIMIM and called it a descendant of the Razakars, a barbaric army raised and perpetrated by Khasim Razvi, a trusted lieutenant of the Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. The BJP recalls at the drop of a proverbial hat that the Razakars had committed atrocities against people, mostly commoners and tormented them. The BJP rank and file without batting an eyelid indulges in hate-mongering that stops short of pitting one religion against the other. The BJP leaders don't make any bones about their inherent intent too.

The Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan with then Home Minister Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel

They conveniently ignore the fact that the Statue of Unity, world's tallest statue, of Sardar Patel was installed by their own Government as a mark of respect to the first Home Minister of India for his yeoman service in integrating the impudent princely states (in other words, their rulers) of Hyderabad, Junagadh and Kashmir into the Union of India.

Post-police action era saw a new dynamism in Hyderabad, which is essentially missing in the other two States. While Junagadh did not make news for any achievements over the last seven-and-a-half decades, Kashmir has always been in news for a myriad wrong reasons.

While nobody would endorse the atrocities of the Razakars even in their wildest of dreams, there is no reason to discount the great contributions of the last two Nizams preceding the Independence on the development front. They welcomed enterprising farmers from Andhra region to cultivate agricultural lands in the riparian area of Nizam Sagar, built for irrigation purposes by the Nizam. Osmania University, State Central Library, Begumpet Airport, Osman Sagar freshwater lake, Osmania General Hospital, Nizam's Orthopaedic, Unani Hospital, Govt City College, Highcourt, Fever Hospital, Nizam State Railway (including the present TSRTC), the underground drainage system, and a whole lot of other popular imperative facilities were all the contributions of the Nizams.

After police action, the Government of India didn't imprison the rulers nor did it hold them responsible for any wrongdoings. On the other hand, the Nizam was appointed the Raj Pramukh in the rank of a Governor of the State. The richest man was not robbed of his riches. Whatever Hyderabad got from the Nizam's rule are seen as "gains" of people and not as the 'loss of inheritance'.

Telangana Peasants Armed Struggle

In fact, the Congress party must be credited with maintaining dignity while being at the helm of transitioning of power from the British to Independent India. Gandhiji and Nehru and a host of leaders in the legion never lost the thought that they all had their higher education in England. The protracted freedom struggle had all the trappings of an epic war, including atrocities, mass killings in ghastly incidents like the one at Jalian Wala Bagh, the execution of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhadev, and hundreds of incident, including the suppression of sepoys' mutiny in 1857, killing thousands.

However, India kept the pressure revved up on the British to accord freedom through non-violence and achieved what it desired and yearned for two centuries constantly.

That didn't provoke India to declare the UK as an enemy or a rogue nation. The mutual respect and international relations remained intact by fortifying and fostering trade and diplomatic relations.

There have been umpteen occasions when the two nations showered respect and trust mutually and surged ahead.

When Nizam was brought around to fall in line with the Indian government's political fabric, how is it logical to call him names? How is it just to demonise someone who yielded to the pressure, either by hook or crook.

The asinine thought process of the BJP to portray the MIM and TRS and their undefined pact as villains is nothing but politics. It's fine to play the game of thrones using politics as a method in madness.

When the TRS Government is calling it an integration day, there is a reason behind it. The TRS as a political entity realised the decades-old dream of a separate Telangana. The votive they secured through a prolonged agitation is being protected, politically and practically, to enhance the prosperity of the State. The positive vibe created by the nomenclature of "integration" instead of christening it with its antonym, "liberation", the Telangana Government is surely sparing no effort to create a conducive atmosphere for a celebration. This event is no Deepavali or Dasara where the mythological attribute of victory of good over evil is achieved.

It is a nationally significant occasion that, for long, could not be celebrated for obvious reasons.

It will be in great interest of people to promote amity rather than animosity.

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